What We Are Reading Today: Self-Portrait in Black and White

Updated 20 October 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Self-Portrait in Black and White

Author: Thomas Chatterton Williams

Thomas Chatterton Williams’ book Self-Portrait in Black and White is “more rigorous than mournful, an account of solutions more than of problems, marked by self-deprecating humor and acute sensitivity,” said Andrew Solomon in a review for The New York Times.  
Solomon added: “Williams, a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine, is well educated, intellectually sophisticated and prosperous, and he tries to limn the complex relationship between race and class, to figure out where racism is classism and where classism is racism, an almost Escher-like maze as snobbery casts a thin veil over racial hatred and vice versa.”
While Self-Portrait in Black and White “begins with assertions of Williams’ blackness, it evolves into a rich set of questions occasioned
by the birth of his first child,” said Solomon.
The critic said Williams’ final chapter, Self-Portrait of an Ex-Black Man, “explores his rejection of an identity that he has seldom sought but frequently embraced.”


What We Are Reading Today: Texas Flood

Updated 10 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Texas Flood

AUTHORS: Alan Paul & Andy Aledort

Texas Flood by Alan Paul and Andy Aledort is a phenomenal biography of guitar legend Stevie Ray Vaughan that hits on every level, including interviews with those closest to him.

A review in The New York Times said: “An oral history is only as good as its sources, and Texas Flood is thorough and far-reaching, with Vaughan’s bandmates, crew and family taking center stage.”  It added: “Especially fascinating is Vaughan’s complicated relationship with his older brother, Jimmie,  and Vaughan’s ill-fated role in David Bowie’s band, an apparent big break that he quit because he was told he could not promote his debut album.”

The review said: “If there’s a disappointment in the book, it’s the lack of Vaughan’s own voice. Aledort interviewed him several times during his lifetime, but since those conversations were focused on specific projects, the quotes pulled for Texas Flood don’t leave much impression. Both authors are accomplished musicians and longtime contributors to Guitar World magazine, so occasionally things get a little gear-heavy.”